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Colposcopic management of high-grade referral smears: a retrospective audit supporting 'see and treat'?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Enid Michael, Dr Judith Bulmer, Dr Viney Wadehra


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Objective: The National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme monitors the quality of colposcopy services through the annual KC65 returns. The 2002 returns demonstrated that Standard 7c, which specifies a biopsy rate >= 90% at first colposcopy visit for high-grade referrals, was not met in the assessed 3-month period. This was investigated along with the other standards. Methods: Retrospective colposcopy records were accessed for the 597 new referrals, excluding 10 pregnant patients, seen at the colposcopy clinic at the Royal Victoria Infirmary between 1 July 2001 and 31 December 2002, following an abnormal high-grade smear. Cytology and histopathology computer records were checked for confirmation. The results were assessed against the colposcopy standards applicable at that time and the revised standards (2004). Results: Biopsies were taken from 94.47% (Standard >= 90%) of women at index colposcopy visit including wire loop excision biopsies from 66.16% (87.97% of high-grade colposcopic appearances). Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) on histology was found in 91.79% in the study group (Standard >= 85%) and in 96.71% of index visit biopsies (Standard >= 90%), meeting the applicable colposcopy standards. The revised 2004 standards specify a biopsy in >= 95% of high-grade referrals and excision biopsies in 95% if colposcopic appearances are also high-grade, if colposcopy is low grade but the smear is severely dyskaryotic, or when the lesion extends into the canal. The positive predictive value of high-grade cytology for this entire group was 75.54% with CIN present in 90.95%. Conclusion: From this study it appears that high-grade cytology in this centre reliably indicates high-grade CIN. Therefore, in women referred for colposcopy following a high-grade smear, excision biopsies should be performed in a higher proportion at the first visit to comply with the revised standards.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Errington CA, Roberts M, Tindle P, Michael E, Bulmer JN, Wadehra V

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cytopathology

Year: 2006

Volume: 17

Issue: 6

Pages: 339-347

ISSN (print): 0956-5507

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2303

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2303.2006.00395.x


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